Regarding the coronavirus, and hand-shaking that is now taboo, here is what I heard the CDC is recommending you should replace the hand shake with. May or may not be true.

Do the hip bump!

I say why do that when you just keep all your body parts to yourself and say something like … hi! And the hand-washing thing is a very good thing if you do it properly. Use some friction when washing your hands for 20 seconds.

I will throw this out to you. Again whether it’s true or not I don’t know, but it makes sense to me. Or, it’s better than nothing. This was taught in nursing school eons ago, and that’s what I’m basing this method on.

When you do not have access to soap and water, rub your hands together very aggressively for at least 20 seconds. I feel better doing that than doing nothing.

And, of course, there is the thing about keeping your hands away from your face. And for heaven’s sake, if you are feeling bad, please stay home. And yes, you can still drink Corona beer. Can you believe some people had to ask if it was OK? Of course, it has to be served with lime.

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I made a big pot of soup the other day. Peter was here and we decided to have a bowl of soup and homemade cornbread (that Peter swore he wouldn’t like) instead of going to Galveston as we had planned. I made the soup to put in serving-size containers and freeze for me to have instead of frozen meals all the time.

Turns out Peter wasn’t too fond of either the soup or the cornbread. Could have fooled me. He ate the cornbread with butter and seemed to enjoy the three large pieces he had. Oh, and two bowls of soup.

If you don’t know or have forgotten or just don’t give a darn, Peter is English. Fresh off the boat from London 50-some odd years ago. I am going to share my recipe for soup with you. Trust me, you will love it! And in Peter’s defense, he likes food. But he wouldn’t request the soup and cornbread again if given a choice.

Gin’s Soup

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

1 can Veg-All, juice and all

1 can Del-Monte Mexican Style tomatoes

1 or 2 potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 small can English peas)or any veggies you may have left over in your soup container you keep in the freezer, like green beans or corn)

1 package frozen okra

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot brown, brown ground beef and drain off grease. Add all other ingredients and cover with lid, then cook on low until potatoes are done.

I add a couple of cans of water from the tomato can. You can always add more water. This soup lends itself to anything else you would like to add or take away. These are the ingredients I like. And I like lots of potatoes.

If I’m making this soup just for me, I like to add about half a can of Ro-tel tomatoes. I’m the only one in the family that likes hot, except for Terrie. Terrie has started eating a jalapeno pepper every day. They are good for inflammation. She swears by them. As a matter of fact, just yesterday, I planted a jalapeno plant.

I don’t have a soup container in the freezer anymore, so I buy the real small cans of corn and peas, and green beans to add along with the Veg-All. Hope you like it if you make it.

I like cornbread with this soup the first time I make it. But, when I get a serving out of the freezer (since it’s already made) I’m too lazy to make cornbread the second time, so I just eat it with crackers.

My cornbread recipe is so simple. So I’ll share it with you, if you like.

I have to start off by telling you this recipe is in just-abouts. I’ll get as close as I can to a measurement that you can use if you don’t cook in just-abouts.

Gin’s Cornbread

INGREDIENTS

About 1 cup of cornmeal

About 1/2 cup of flour

1 heaping teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg (optional)

Enough milk to make it a little pourable, but not too thin.

DIRECTIONS

This cornbread will be much better if you have a black pan, or an iron skillet would be the best. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Pour a little oil in the bottom of the skillet or pan. Place in hot oven until it is smoking hot. Take out of oven and pour in cornbread mixture. Spread to the edges and pop it back in the oven. Bake about 12 to 15 minutes until top is nice and brown and the edges are dark brown. Turn out into plate. Cut into serving slices and butter immediately if you like hot, buttered cornbread. I don’t, but then I’m a little crazy. I would butter me a piece but eat it like dessert.

Using a black pan or best yet an iron skillet will make the bottom of your cornbread nice and crisp.

If you like thicker cornbread than this recipe makes, just add more cornmeal and flour and a little more of the other ingredients. I like mine a little on the thin side. If you don’t own an iron skillet, do yourself a favor and run don’t walk and go buy you one. Takes a while to season one, but it is well worth it.

Have a great rest of the week, and see you Sunday.

If you have recipes or tips to share, or a request, send to Conversations with Gin, P.O. Box 334, Clute TX. 77531, or ginscolumn@hotmail.com.

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